HIST 4438 Syllabus
Africana Studies offered by Central Missouri State University  
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  HIST 4438 - African History

(Click here for a printable version of the syllabus.) 

Dr. Yvonne Johnson
Wood 136K
Office Hours: 10:00-11:00 MWF, 3:00-4:00 MW, or by appointment
Phone: 543-8680
e-mail: yjohnson@cmsu1.cmsu.edu


History 4438 examines the African continent, its development and its place in world affairs since prehistory, through the construction of complex societies and empires, to nineteenth century European colonization and independence in the twentieth century.

Iliffe, John. Africans: The History of a Continent. New York: Cambridge UP, 1995.

Manning, Patrick. Slavery and African Life: Occidental, Oriental, and African Slave Trades. New York: Cambridge UP, 1997.

Pakenham, Thomas. The Scramble for Africa: White Man's Conquest of the Dark Continent from 1876 to 1912. New York: Avon Books, 1992.

Rodney, Walter. How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Washington D.C.: Howard UP, 1981.

Shillington, Kevin. History of Africa. New York: St Martin' Press, 1995.

1. Read assigned textbooks. Materials should be read by the day that they are assigned before coming to class.

2. Participate in class discussions.

3 Present one 10-15 minute discussion of research to the class.

4 Submit one research paper (Undergraduates, 13-15 pages, Graduates, 20 pages).

1. State orally or in writing the causes and effects of the development of early African empires and the growth of the slave trade.

2. Make comparisons; be prepared to compare and contrast the content and the historical interpretations of the texts read.

3. Use critical thinking skills by analyzing and discussing selected readings and texts and analyze, interpret and draw conclusions from charts, graphs and maps.

4. Give examples of historiographic interpretations.

5. Identify and discuss key people, groups and events in African History

We will use lectures, open discussions, student presentations and audiovisual materials such as maps, videos, and transparencies.


Students will be evaluated on the basis of three exams, one paper, and one presentation. Grade will be assigned on the following criteria:

1. Each exam will be worth 25% of the final course grade.

2. A grade will be assigned for a 10-15 minute class presentation of student research (5%).

3. The research paper will be worth 20% of the course grade.

Grades will be assigned on the following basis:

90 - 100
= A
80 - 89
= B
70 - 79
= C
60 - 69
= D
0 - 59
= F

RESEARCH PAPER: UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTSs will prepare a 10-15 page research paper, plus bibliography, on a topic chosen in consultation with the instructor. The paper must have a historiographic component describing at least two different interpretations of the chosen topic. Books read for class preparation may be used for this paper, but at least 6 other sources must be consulted, including review essays, book reviews, and journal articles dealing with the topic.

GRADUATE STUDENTS will prepare a 20-25 page research paper, with an accompanying annotated bibliography. The paper must have a historiographic component that describes at least two different interpretations of the chosen topic. Graduate students must consult at least 10 sources for their paper. The annotated bibliography must have a minimum of 20 sources.

Kate Turabian's A Manual for Writers must be used for citations. Hand in two copies of your paper. One will be returned to you. The other I will keep for my files. For EACH day that the paper is late, including Saturdays and Sundays, 5 points will be deducted from the paper grade.

Students are expected to attend all classes. Class attendance is recorded. More than four (4) UNDOCUMENTED absences will result in lowering a grade one level. Only school-sponsored activities and written doctor’s excuses are accepted as documented absences. Withdrawal from this course is the responsibility of the student. If the student stops attending, he/she could receive an “F” instead of a “W” for the course. THE LAST DAY TO DROP THIS COURSE WITH A “W” is March28, 2003.

Be on time as late arrivals disrupt class. Three tardies may constitute one absence. If you arrive after roll has been called, it is your responsibility to inform the instructor of your presence.

Take care of your needs (restroom, drink of water etc.) before you come to class. YOU ARE NEVER PERMITTED TO LEAVE THE CLASSROOM DURING AN EXAM - ANYONE WHO LEAVES FORFEITS HIS/HER EXAM.

Make-up exams will be given at one time during the week before finals - with the time and place to be announced later. ALL MAKE-UP EXAMINATIONS WILL BE ESSAY!
NOTE: All make-up exams and all written materials must be submitted to the instructor by Friday April 25, 2003.

Students are expected to be familiar with the conditions (stated in the Student Calendar/Handbook) which constitute an offence against academic honesty to avoid breeches of these standards. Such offenses include cheating, plagiarism, or violations of professional ethics. Any such offense will result in a grade of "F" for the course.

It is the responsibility of faculty to control classes for the benefit of all students. The instructor may assign seats or reassign seats in order to maintain order.
“Faculty members have the authority and the responsibility to control their classes. Should a student disrupt class activities, the student should be asked to leave the classroom and to schedule an appointment with the instructor to discuss the problem. If the student refuses to leave the classroom, the instructor may dismiss the class and discuss the matter with his or her department chair. Both the college dean and the Student Affairs Office should be notified. In the event of a serious classroom
disruption requiring an immediate response, the instructor should call the Department of Public Safety (Campus Police) (Faculty Handbook).

SECTION I: African Geography and the Development of Early African Societies

Classes will consider the following questions and issues:
A. How did geography impact the early development of cultures and societies in Africa. Discuss the development of language groups and early empires in East, West, and South Africa.
B. Discuss the impact of agricultural revolutions, divisions of labor and religious transformations on the development of various African societies.
C. Compare and contrast forms of slavery as they developed in Islamic and African cultures.
D. What is the case for Massive Egyptian influence in the Aegean? Why do some scholars argue that Cleopatra and perhaps Nefertiti was black or derived from Subsaharan Africa?
E. Compare and contrast the arguments for and against Egyptian massive Egyptian influence made by Cheikh Anta Diop, Martin Bernal, J.E. Coleman, and Mary Lefkowitz.
F. What are Diop's arguments for falsification of history and the origins of Egyptian civilization?
G. Compare and contrast Oliver' approach to the development of complex societies in ancient African with that of Diop.

SECTION II: Frontiers, Religion, Slavery & the Growth of African Empires

Classes will consider the following questions and issues:
A. Describe the evolution of language, the impact of religion and the expansion of societies within the continent of Africa.
B. Compare and contrast the historical approaches of Iliffe and Shillington and explain why one or the other (or both) could be used as a source or text in an African History course.
C. Describe the rise and fall of early Western and Eastern African Empires. What was the impact of the Trans-Saharan trade on these empires? What was the impact of world religions?
D. How drastically did West African societies remake themselves in response to the European demand for slaves?
E. Was the African response to the slave trade in West Central Africa essentially different from the response in West Africa?
F. How damaging was the slave trade to the health and well being of African societies? Compare Manning's assessment of the economics of the slave trade with that of Oliver.
G. Compare and contrast the societies of central and southern Africa with the trading empires of West and Northern Africa in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries
Discuss Manning's account of the transformations of slavery, the end of slavery and its consequences for Africa and the world.
H. Describe Shillington's account of Africa in the nineteenth century east, west and south. How does his account of the end of the slave trade compare with Manning's?
I. Compare Shillington's and Iliffe's accounts of regional diversity in Africa in the nineteenth century.

SECTION II: From European Colonization to Independent African Nations.

Classes will consider the following questions and issues:
A. Discuss the actions and possibie motivations of Livingstone, Stanley, Disraeli and
Leopold that led to what Pakenham terms the "scramble for Africa."
B. Discuss the major effects of European conquest upon the nation-states of Africa
C. Describe the African resistance to colonial conquest in south-central and southern Africa.
D. What were the economic and social consequences of colonial rule?
E. Discuss the Boer War, its consequences and the "scramble out" of Africa.
F. Discuss the political and psychological impact of World War II on African nations
How did the contributions of Africans during this era lead to a demand for independence?
G. Describe the winning of African independence. How various colonial structures affect
the ability of independent African nations to construct viable political, social and
economic entities?
H. What are the political, social and economic legacies of colonial rule?
I. Discuss the African dilemmas of the 1980s and 1990s. What are the social and economic challenges facing various African nations currently. What solutions can one offer?